Local Communities & Monuments

Understanding the connections

“Acting for Monuments”

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Tsikalario Valley_Naxos

Public Meeting
«Acting for Monuments»

The non-profit Civic Company MOnuMENTA for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of Greece and Cyprus and the Drymalia Municipality of Naxos island, organise the public meeting «Acting for Monuments», on Friday 21st August 2009, 7.30 p.m., at the main Square of Chalki Village with the kind support of The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation.

MOnuMENTA has been implementing the «Local Communities & Monuments» programme for the last three years, including several public meetings, public outreach schemes, publications and other activities. Through these and systematic participation in local activities, the programme attempts to inform and raise awareness in the local communities for the surrounding natural and monumental wealth of the island, the risks that it faces, and propose sustainable solutions. What is more, it attempts to research the ways that the past is being understood and addressed in the present through traditional or contemporary, local or imported practises and habits.

Working for some time with island communities and in the goverment system, we came across several inadequacies in the specification of the jurisdictions between the official carriers for the protection of natural and built monuments and considerable lack of acquaintance among the citizens in the ways that they could «act» for the protection and the sustainable management of the monuments.

This year, the programme invites a number of public and other carriers (e.g. Ministry of Culture, Drymalia Municipality, Cyclades’ Perfecture, NGO’s, University of Athens) and individual citizens in order to locate jurisdictions and responsibilities of each one of them and also to outline adequate ways of action according to which the citizens’ society could be informed and work for the protection of the natural and built environment; An important asset in the present, when the decisions for the future of the monuments are -more often than not- taken behind closed doors, with minimal participatory procedures.

Through this note, we would like to invite the active citizens of the island to participate in the meeting and the dialogue that will follow the 10’ talks of the invited speakers, proposing among others possible actions for the sustainable management of the monuments and solutions to the problems that endanger nature, history and the cohesiveness of the society. The conclusive dialogue will focus on the proposals for the salvation of two important monuments of the island, the hellenistic Chimarros Tower and the venetian Jesuit’s Palace, that were brought up several times in the previous public meeting of the programme (08.09.08) for the «Monuments of Naxos at Risk».

Further Info: Drymalia Municipality 22850 32647
MOnuMENTA info@monumenta.org http://www.monumenta.org, http://topikeskoinoniesmnimeia.wordpress.com/
6972268659, 6973308857


Stelida's Reserve_ Naxos


Written by Stelios Lekakis

August 19, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Building a factory in Chaironeia

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ChaironeiaThe Central Archaeological Council of Greece (KAS) with the majority of votes cast in favour, reversed its last decision and allowed ENELCO’s large energy production unit to be built near Chaironeia’s archaeological site (the historic battlefield – a listed monument), converting it into an industrial zone.

Even though local communities of Boeotoia -under several schemata- acted swiftly and opposed the “imminent desecration of the site” a number of “exasperated citizens” demonstrated in favour of the new factory, commenting on the ‘development’ to be brought upon the area.

According to the majority of the citizens, the factory will have devastating consequences for the area environmentally and if Chaironeia_demonstrationbuilt, it will be a negative precedent for the creation of other similar units.

For further information

http://symparataxi.blogspot.com / symparataxi@gmail.com

Written by Stelios Lekakis

December 25, 2008 at 2:54 am

Α public meeting at Chimarros Tower, Naxos, 12.08.08

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A public meeting at the Chimmaros Tower in Naxos

On Tuesday 12.08.08 a public meeting was conducted at the Chimarros Tower, organised by the Filoti citizens’ society in the island of Naxos (Cyclades). The meeting attempted to raise awareness for the monument-symbol of the hinterland Naxos that faces multiple dangers.

The restoration of the monument commenced with the 2nd CSF but was not continued in the subsequent Support Framework. Thus, the excavation went half-way while the restoration project was limited to a protective frame built around the monument and the identification and arrangement of the fallen architectural members in groups.

In this meeting, several representatives from Drymalia Municipality and other local groups participated along with 70 citizens of Philoti (seated on the arranged spolia around the monument), an impressive number of people for a hot afternoon in August.

Three short lectures presented the history of the tower and the history of the funding received while in average moderate appositions by the citizens, pledged for the need of co-operation amongst the carriers in charge in order to recommence the restoration project.

Amongst the interesting issues arisen is the image of the Ministry of Culture presented by the majority of the people that spoke in the meeting. A distant, slow  public service -hostile towards the citizens- that does not respond to their letters and pledges, being at the same time detrimental to the monuments and incapable to co-operate with other state services.
This image -complemented by additional data collected in our research- reflects a general public view for the Ministry existent in the local communities of Naxos and in general around the Aegean: A hostile and distant -almost Kafka-like- authority, that interrupts the “developmental” projects of the citizens in order to study meaningless “ruins”; A state mechanism, characterised mainly by absence of social responsibility being indifferent towards the public, without any “structured participative methods and possibilities of dialogue whatsoever”.

Although invited, representatives of the Ministry of Culture were absent and thus another opportunity of commencing a fruitful dialogue by putting things into perspective went astray.

Written by Stelios Lekakis

August 30, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Monuments of Naxos at risk – the citizens’ voice

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Drymalia Municipality of Naxos and MOnuMENTA e-magazine (through the local communities & monuments programme) invite you to participate in the public meeting organised on Monday 8th September at 7.30 p.m. at the yard of the school in Aperathou village (Naxos), titled: “Monuments of Naxos at risk-the citizens’ voice”.
Monuments of nature and architecture are at risk in Naxos due to negligence, abandonment, lack of resources, aggressive development…

Main goal of the public meeting is to listen the voices of the local communities of Naxos and the visitors of the island about the monuments at risk and their views on possible protective actions.
• Brief presentations of various monuments at risk by: Municipality representatives, local environmental & cultural organisations and civilians.
• Open dialogue

Ruined edifices at Apalirou Castle, Naxos

Ruined edifices at Apalirou Castle, Naxos

Further info soon!

Written by Stelios Lekakis

August 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Naxos Festival 2008

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Naxos Festival 2008


19/07-24/08, Bazeos Tower, Naxos

Production: Aeon Cultural Not-Profit Organisation

“For 2008, Naxos Festival has chosen as thematic axis of its program the relation between art and madness. For more than a century, the wide public has been “familiarizing” itself with this cultural bond, relation through theatrical texts, cinematographic work – but also through developing artistic perception of figurative creations, that acquire aesthetic autonomy.
Through the exhibition Psychotopia, the coexistence of international artists with modern artistic currents, the festival becomes, for the eighth time, a place for multicultural meetings and special productions, revealing Naxos island a perfect place for vacation, with a regenerating cultural atmosphere.
All the events are hosted at Bazeos Tower, a 17th century monument, in the hinterland of Naxos. A Junoesque environment, which embraces, inspires and underlines performers and events, continues to designate itself throughout Greece, as one of the best, for the eighth consecutive year. ”

For further Info: http://www.bazeostower.gr/eng/festival-08.html

Written by Stelios Lekakis

July 31, 2008 at 11:56 am

Posted in Newsfeed

“Run-down heritage sites embarass the Greeks” guardian.co.uk

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An interesting article has been published in ‘guardian’ on monday, titled: Run-down heritage sites embarass the Greeks.

In this, the poor preservation state of archaeological sites is criticised along with the inadequate number of personnel manning the sites, during the limited opening-hours to the public. 

Even though most of the points made are valid (a fact that dictated mass employment of extra staff from the Ministry of Culture), the view of the article is quite worrying: Monuments, archaeological sites and museums are considered as products for mass, summer, touristic consumption. Culture is still considered the ‘heavy industry’ or the ‘competitive advantage’ of Greece as the official dialectics sustain since the ’60s; a ‘product’ detached from its historicity and local reality, ready to be consumed by the myriads of summer tourists that enjoy their pints in some bar built (illegally) on the sea shore. Some issues that totally reflect the state policy for tourism, in a “come ‘n enjoy…” mood.

According to the article, the main criterion for managing sites and judging the situation nowadays are accessibility issues and how many hours are the sites available to visitors. The needs of the monuments, their protection and conservation, along with issues involving the surrounding local communities (e.g. local communities and its reactions to mass tourism) are unavoidably considered as of minor importance.

The article could be accessed here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/23/greece.heritage


Visitors ascending on the Acropolis, Propylaia, April 2008

Written by Stelios Lekakis

June 27, 2008 at 10:04 am

“local communities & monuments” on air!

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Last Thursday (08/05) Stelios gave an interview about the programme “local communities & monuments’ that was radiobroadcasted through ERA 5, 665 LW, at the show “Dromo Pairnei Dromo Afinei” hosted by Agne Stroumbouli.

Among the things discussed were: the island of Naxos and the complex of Cyclades (naturally…), the programme ‘local communities & monuments’, the differences between native-local knowlege and scientific dogma, intangible monuments and their silent loss, the MOnuMENTA e-magazine, the ecological movements of Athens et al.

Part of it will be published in the greek version of the blog (http://topikeskoinoniesmnimeia.wordpress.com) (in greek, obviously…)  

Written by Stelios Lekakis

May 17, 2008 at 11:36 am

Posted in Activities